Why Your Dog Needs to Chew
We know healthy dogs love to chew. Popular expressions like “give a dog a bone” offer a nod to the cultural norm of the relationship between dogs and the love of the chew. But why do dogs chew? Here are several benefits and some of the science behind a dog’s love and need to chew.
Puppies: Young dogs have a physical need to chew. They have new teeth coming in and much like young human infants and toddlers, those incoming teeth can be painful as they push through the gums. The pressure of chewing can often relieve some of that discomfort. Offering your young dog age and diet appropriate chews and chew toys can help them work through this painful period. It can also help save your arms, fingers, furniture and pillows from the sometimes disastrous results of unwanted and uninvited chewing!
Dogs: The benefits of chewing continue as your dog matures from puppyhood into doghood.
Healthy teeth and jaws! Chewing keeps a dog’s jaw strong and naturally helps your dog reduce both tartar and plaque. In short, think of natural chews as nature's way of keeping your dog’s teeth healthier and cleaner. Chewing also increases the production of saliva which can help remove some of the bacteria in a dog’s mouth–and result in better, fresher breath! Moreover, healthy teeth and gums are related to cardiovascular health!
Mental Stimulation! Chewing is entertainment for dogs. Providing natural chews and chew toys can help dogs alleviate boredom. We are all aware of the image of the bored dog left alone that chews on less desirable household items such as furniture, shoes and door jams. Misdirected chewing by bored dogs can be a bit of a disaster. Switching up chews (cycle them in and out) and toys can help keep them engaged and entertained.
Anxiety! Experts suggest that having access to chews can help relieve or release mild anxiety and frustration in your dog by triggering the body to release endorphins. Much like humans that might take out a bag of munchies to relax after a stressful day, so your dog may get the same benefit from chewing. Handing your dog a bully stick or yak cheese chew may have the same effect as you grabbing a bag of chips and salsa or a gallon of your favorite ice cream after a hard day!
Ready to offer some chews to your pup or dog? Here are a few tips. Consider natural chews and treats like bully sticks, pig ears and super nutritious chicken feet. These healthier, limited ingredient chews do not have additives, preservatives or fillers. When selecting a chew, always pick size and age appropriate chews. For example, bully sticks are available in a wide range of sizes depending on your pup’s size! As always, if you have a dog with health issues, food sensitivities or dental concerns, make sure you select a chew that will work for them. If you have questions, your vet can be a great resource.
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As always, chews happiness!